As we all know water is precious and we’re constantly told how we can make sure we use it sensibly in our homes. White goods such as washing machines are designed to get clothes clean whilst not using too much water. We’re advised to take showers rather than bathe etc. But, what about the garden?
People who love gardening can come under some criticism, mainly because of their so-called “misuse” of water. That said, I have friends who use water sensibly and still manage to have a lush garden. For those of you who are worried about the amount of water you use to help your garden grow, I’ve decided to pass on some of the tips I’ve picked up over the years.
When the Heavens Open
There are certain parts of the US that don’t receive as much rain as they used to, and there are even some parts where it’s a joy to see rainfall. This may seem like a very basic (and pretty obvious) tip to give you but get yourself a rain bucket or some other large vessel so you can collect the rain when it arrives.
You don’t have to just rely on the water coming directly from the sky either. It’s possible to set-up systems so water that lands in gutters is re-directed to your barrel. If you’re concerned about the water becoming stagnant, there are a couple of things you should do. Keep the barrel dark in color, and keep it covered.
Dark colored rain barrels will stop algae from forming, and by keeping it covered you’ll stop bugs like mosquitoes from setting up home in the rain water.
Sprinkle, Sprinkle Everywhere
If you’re already conscious of the fact that sprinkler systems can be a little wasteful with water, you might want to think again. If you have a system like this it won’t know when it’s raining so if you happen to have a downpour before you get up in the morning and the system is set to come on, your garden gets a double dose it doesn’t really need.
If you already have (or are considering a sprinkler system), think about making use of a wireless sprinkler controller. These things are a great idea and personally, I think everyone should have one.
They can be as basic or sophisticated as your budget allows, and there are some models that can even detect when it’s raining and won’t turn your system on. Some will even hook up to the local weather station, making them even more efficient!
Do it the old-Fashioned way
Of course, not everyone has the spare cash to spend on a system like the one above (although they don’t have to be expensive), and there are people who have small outdoor spaces that simply don’t warrant a sprinkler system. So, for those of you who fall into this bracket, think about recycling the water you use around the home.
If you’re worried about using water that’s had say, dish washing detergent in it, try using products that are plant friendly. Or, just use the water on the hardier flowers you grow. Bath water (should you have one) can also be used. This may seem like a real pain to do, but its really important we all do our bit to save water.
It’s all About the Soil
This might make me sound like a novice, but I’ve discovered that the type of soil you use to plant your flowers can have an impact on the amount of water they need. There are plenty of composts on the market that contain water retaining gels or granules. These hold on to moisture, so you don’t have to water as often.
Mulching is also a great idea because it helps keep the moisture in the ground, and this can be used not just in flowerbeds but hanging baskets as well. Basically, just keep your eyes peeled at your local garden center for anything that helps retain water especially if you live in a dry climate.
Give it a go
There you have it, a few tips on how to use water sensibly in your garden, and still have an abundance of healthy flowers to show off. Some ways may seem like hard work, but it’s satisfying to know you’ve done your bit to conserve this precious resource.